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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: November 13, 2015 11:51 AM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Public Pension Forfeiture for Megan's Law Offenses
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that amends the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act to prohibit public officials and employees convicted of or that have plead guilty or no defense to any offense against a minor requiring registration under 42 Pa.C.S. §9795.1 from collecting retirement benefits. This legislation will be similar to Senate Bill 319 of the 2013-2014 Legislative Session.

The original impetus for this bill was a Philadelphia Daily News report from 2011 regarding former city employees convicted of felonies, including sex crimes against children, who were still collecting pensions. While current Pennsylvania law contains provisions that bar public officials and employees that are convicted of or plead guilty or no defense to crimes related to public office or employment from receiving retirement or other benefit payments, there are no provisions that public officials and employees who are guilty of an offense committed against a minor that requires registration under Megan’s law will lose rights to retirement and other benefit payments.

After I introduced Senate Bill 1290 in the 2011-2012 Legislative Session, the Sandusky case came to light and the need for this type of explicit prohibition became even more necessary. Recently, the Commonwealth Court ruled to restore Sandusky’s pension, despite his egregious crimes. In light of that decision, I believe it is time to revisit this important issue.

The duty of public officials and employees to serve the best interests of the citizens of Pennsylvania is of the utmost importance. To me, that duty is obliterated when a crime requiring registration under Megan’s Law is committed. Therefore, I believe it is imperative that offenders who commit these types of crimes should not be afforded the same benefits as public servants who abide by the law.

Previous co-sponsors include Senators Blake, Boscola, Browne, Dinniman, Eichelberger, Fontana, Tartaglione, Vulakovich, and Williams.